portion of the artwork for M Ross Henry's poetry

Thoracopagus
M Ross Henry

— Vrolik Anatomical and Embryological Museum

What did they make of you when you were born
as one—four legs, four arms, and two trunks
closed over a single fused heart? The plane
where you meet is a mirror you each slipped
through until your bodies melded, as soft
and white as dough. You refused this world,
chose to embrace the other that was also self:
one mouth open, one shut; one tongue advancing,
the other tucked behind its lips. Labeled simply
A and B, you will float in formaldehyde
for generations. Your heads, seeded with tufts
of hair, tilt up and back searching for light.
Your umbilical cord hangs like a garden hose
at the base of your shared abdomen, just beyond
the point where you split into two pelvises
and two sets of hips the size and shape
of dinner rolls. What did they make of you
when you emerged from the womb waltzing,
one pair of arms locked at your sides, the other
held high—and A reaching for B’s open hand?

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 45 | Spring 2015